The Reading Room

We are looking about
at a screen-stuck-to
silvered generation
of eye-glued viewers
in trawl-warmed hands

Those old phone huggers
sit logged in to online’s
click-bait refuge
of tittle-tattle and gossip
and foreign muckiness

under scrolled fingering
for rolled eyes of delight
and instant connectedness
to others’ risen anger

Those mobile surfers ride
on a curl of upper lips
and toothless sneers –
set high by published lies

Thursday – Overground to Euston

We travel sober through London Bridge – below
brick arches – on roads cowered by glassy heights –
Our cabbie blasts bent-to-smartphone bodies
back from near-hits on red-man crossings –

it seems that Londoners have now forgotten
how to see the threats beyond their implements –
We now live hand-to-eye – no longer hand-to-mouth –
no shape-to-spoken words – now embedded emojis spout –

We briefly find speed over the river crossing
and then turn left through the gold standard of cheats –
of fund managers – of clerics – of bankers and white Gods –
where every seat and bench in the low sun is arse-taken –

Thursday lunchtime is the dress rehearsal for Friday excess
behind St Paul’s – and in the eateries of Clerkenwell –
in the stained and new cafes – at exotic roadside pop-ups
and in smoke-free pubs until ten o’clock that night –
Our ride is time travel and a belching reminder that
we are in a handcart to hell – instead of the Underground


 

Strung

Am I rebuffed by your cooling love?
I tremor under naked phone lines –
oscillating – now wind-touched –
Silent are our words in the wires
which we strung to allow such whip –
Without voices they are set to squinch
and tighten before a snapped mishap
of misunderstood tensions – of speech –
No text – no reveal – such cold harm
here – left open – rough translations
like the coded language of telegrams –
Are muted signals your intention?
And I’ll sit by my phone – as if
your voice is the waited-for-gift

Old Devices

We’d race to get the telephone –
stating our number as rote taught –
our mother in her poshest voice
but rough for sister talk

Relative news transmissions –
but not intended to be heard –
I knew nothing of kindred facts
’til I stole truth from her words

We were ignorant between acts –
maybe flattening an irksome book –
we’d stare through the yellowed nets
whilst half-tuned to loosened talk

We tugged at the reluctant drawers
where our history was lost and found –
there tucked between old table mats –
sepia smiles were loosely bound

News bulletins marked the hours
or were shoved through the letterbox –
that narrow window on the world –
ink fears of the Eastern bloc

Ignorance was a short-lived bliss
in those disconnected times –
no algorithms on our wrists
to redress the truths and lies

Call Ended

When I touched the button
and killed our discourse
I ripped with emptiness
then filled with remorse

I cannot handle
these telephonic wars –
I start thinking out loud
my unspoken thoughts

I struggle with distances
logged by servers and silos –
those creeping tendrils
gathering ones and zeros

But my ear is pressed
to heed numbers you say –
of your long hours awake
and your days still away

We have lost the buttons
and slow rotary dials –
these phones are devices
which hack our denials

Deleted Facebook

This phone feels lighter
after I deleted the app –
today I’ve restarted
with a single act

No pushes from Facebook –
that microscope
into others’ lived lies
and hashtag tropes

My thoughts were narrowed
by the blinkered view –
No yearns for ‘Likes’ –
No fear of peer reviews